Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is no fan of the Obama administration’s handling of the auto bailouts, reports Automotive News. His recent 30-second TV commercial, “Dream,” speaks harshly of the auto bailouts and President Obama’s decision to force General Motors and Chrysler dealerships to shutter their doors in 2009.
Auto dealerships in Ohio object
According to the Mitt Romney commercial, auto dealerships like the GM dealership run by Al Zarzour of Lyndhurst, Ohio, were ravaged by the GM bankruptcy proceedings. His dealership reportedly opened its doors in 1972. When GM informed him that his credit line had been rescinded, Zarzour was stunned.
“We had 30-some employees that were out of work,” he says in the commercial. “My wife and I were the last ones there. You know, it was like the dream that we worked for, and that we worked so hard for, was gone.”
Romney’s TV ad goes on to point out that approximately 1,400 General Motors and 800 Chrysler auto dealerships have gone dark in the aftermath of auto bailouts and bankruptcy restructuring. Spending $85 billion in U.S. Treasury funds to keep the “too big to fail” dealership and auto financing businesses afloat was more than a bridge too far, in Mitt Romney’s estimation.
‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt’
In a November 2008 New York Times op-ed piece entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney suggested – and continues to suggest on the campaign trail and in his Ohio-based TV commercial – that bankruptcy would have been a more efficient way to save GM and Chrysler. Of course, the Obama administration does not agree, claiming its work with the U.S. automotive industry to be one of the crown jewels of the president’s first term in office.
“Let’s get this straight — the very person who argued for the U.S. auto industry to go bankrupt, something that would have caused more than a million jobs lost and utter economic devastation in the Midwest, is now trying to attack the president on how it was handled? This ad in Ohio is a new low for the Romney campaign,” said Obama spokesman Frank Benanti.
Benanti told The Detroit News that Ohio auto dealerships currently employ 43,200 workers, 2,200 more than in January 2009.
Let the bailout bash continue
Considering that Michigan and Ohio are projected as swing states for Election 2012, the war for hearts and minds in the automotive and manufacturing areas of the nation will no doubt drone on into November. Both candidates are making the rounds, and various polls indicate that Obama holds the lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio, 53 percent to 42 percent. Regardless of poll accuracy or lack thereof, it is clear that the auto bailouts will loom large in the upcoming elections.
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